A recent article in the Globe and Mail titled Keep calm and think on: How the ancients can save today’s world, inspired today’s #WAKEUP podcast (see audio player below).
I highly recommend you read the full piece but here’s the opening paragraph and a few excerpts to give you the gist of it…
In an endlessly over-sharing, selfie-snapping, Rob Ford kind of world that has lost its grip on impulse control, the proponents of good old-fashioned stoicism hope they have found their moment.
A team of academics and therapists funded by the British government is convinced that the 2,300-year-old philosophy of emotional detachment could rescue modernity from its worst excesses. Armed with pithy maxims from the likes of Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius and a series of daily exercises that draw on ancient calming rituals, they have organized Live Like a Stoic Week – a global self-improvement experiment, starting Monday, that aims to spread Stoic virtue across the virtual world.
Stoicism might seem an unlikely route to bliss, given its reputation for chilly rationality – a guiding thought from the slave-turned-philosopher Epictetus is that we achieve freedom only when we realize that it comes not by fulfilling our desires but by getting rid of them.
“Stoicism can teach us how to live in this society without allowing it to take control, and that has a great deal of appeal,” Mr. Robertson said. “People want to have an iPad, but they don’t want to let it rule them, to dominate their philosophy of life.”
Two millennia later, the organizers of Stoic Week are urging participants to keep daily journals just as the Roman emperor did – the text for next Saturday’s period of reflection is Marcus Aurelius’s argument for why it’s better to get out of bed in the morning when your preference is to stay put. At the therapeutic level, they also want would-be Stoics to start questioning their needless worries – in keeping with the saying of Epictetus thats “We are not disturbed by events but by our opinions about events.”
Full article HERE
I have to say, it’s been a while since a topic has fascinated me at this level. I found it quite powerful and it certainly got me thinking. I’d love to hear your thoughts on it as well. You can hear my thoughts on today’s #WAKEUP podcast below.
P.S. The Live Like a Stoic Week website is chalk full of great resources and information that you will find fascinating including this brilliant, free, handbook on how to be a Stoic!